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‘Of Wilderness and Resort’ explores Big Sky’s past and present



By Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – On March 16, the community is invited to take a walk through time and learn about the evolution of the Big Sky area, which developed from a group of ranches to one of resorts and a tourism economy.

“Of Wilderness and Resort: 150 Years of Change in Gallatin Canyon and Big Sky” will begin at 6 p.m. at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, opening with a showing of the documentary “From Homesteads to Huntley.” The 2017 film chronicles Big Sky’s history, from its early days as a tiny ranching community, to the opening of Big Sky Resort under Chet Huntley’s guiding vision.

Twenty-six minutes in length, “Homesteads to Huntley” includes a narrated montage of interviews with the Huntley family, historic footage of the legendary news anchor, archival photographs and early resort plans and sketches.

Following the film, Montana State University professor Duncan Patten, who is also director of the Montana Water Center, will give a presentation that includes past and present photos of the area, taken from his book “The Gallatin Way to Yellowstone: A Changing Pathway Through Time.”

Many of Patten’s historic images date to the early 1900s, and show minimal development in the canyon and the narrow road that led the way. In 1914, the pathway from Gallatin Valley to West Yellowstone was complete and guest ranches began to develop, such as the Halfway Inn (originally called Dew Drop Inn and now known as Rainbow Ranch Lodge), Buffalo Horn Ranch (now the 320 Guest Ranch) and Nine Quarter Circle Ranch.

With the development of Big Sky Resort in the 1970s, the modern era of Big Sky emerged, leading to a burgeoning tourist economy and today’s rapid growth in development.

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